Most children are accident-prone. They are susceptible to various germs and viruses at school where they slap high-fives and shake hands after sneezing and sit in desks with gum stuck to the edges. They are our little bundles of vulnerable joy. We know we can’t be there to caution their every step, but at the very least, we hope to be able to provide them with health care when they need medical attention.
Medicaid redeterminations are making that difficult. The Division of Medicaid usually redetermines eligibility annually, but the pandemic caused the government to pause redeterminations in March 2020. Three years later, all states were required to resume the eligibility process on April 1. Since then, as the Mississippi Division of Medicaid’s monthly enrollment reports reveal, the department has dropped 18,710 children from Medicaid; more are likely to come.
Many aren’t surprised. The Division of Medicaid has been troubled with inadequate staffing and that will play into their ability to effectively communicate with families known to move frequently. Then there’s the factor that most won’t receive an automatic electronic approval. They’ll have to resubmit or send additional information to prove eligibility, adding another layer of difficulty.
Instead of Saving Money, Save Lives
During the pandemic, Mississippi was not allowed to kick anyone off Medicaid, and because of that, the State received additional federal funds. Instead of letting participants keep access to a full Medicaid plan, the Division of Medicaid secretly put participants who were on a managed care plan—a program for qualifying medical situations that deemed them eligible for a specific period—on a fee-for-service plan to save the agency money.
Instead of paying a managed-care company a monthly rate for each enrollee, the Division of Medicaid only paid providers when the enrollee received care. This private change helped the Division of Medicaid save money. This move was done so quietly that providers didn’t understand why their patients’ coverage had changed with no public explanation. Such underhanded tactics cause people to lose trust in
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